WASHINGTON (AFP) - People who consume alcohol earn significantly more at their jobs than non-drinkers, according to a US study that highlighted "social capital" gained from drinking.Unless of course you're a closet or "pantry" drinker:
The study published in the Journal of Labor Research Thursday concluded that drinkers earn 10 to 14 percent more than teetotalers, and that men who drink socially bring home an additional seven percent in pay.
"Social drinking builds social capital," said Edward Stringham, an economics professor at San Jose State University and co-author of the study with fellow researcher Bethany Peters.
"Social drinkers are out networking, building relationships, and adding contacts to their BlackBerries that result in bigger paychecks."
The authors acknowledged their study, funded by the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank, contradicted research released in 2000 by the Harvard School of Public Health.
"We created our hypothesis through casual observation and examination of scholarly accounts," the authors said.
"Drinkers typically tend to be more social than abstainers."
The researchers said their empirical survey backed up the theory, and said the most likely explanation is that drinkers have a wider range of social contacts that help provide better job and business opportunities.
"Drinkers may be able to socialize more with clients and co-workers, giving drinkers an advantage in important relationships," the researchers said.
"Drinking may also provide individuals with opportunities to learn people, business, and social skills."
"One of the unintended consequences of alcohol restrictions is that they push drinking into private settings. This occurred during the Alcohol Prohibition of 1920-1933 and is happening on college campuses today. By preventing people from drinking in public, anti-alcohol policies eliminate one of the most important aspects of drinking: increased social capital."That sounds good. But where are the women drinking?
The researchers found some differences in the economic effects of drinking among men and women. They concluded that men who drink earn 10 percent more than abstainers and women drinkers earn 14 percent more than non-drinkers.
[W]omen who frequent bars at least once per month do not show higher earnings than women drinkers who do not visit bars.Are there that many women taking advantage of the samples at Costco? Or nipping at the cooking sherry while talking on the phone? And how would this help "drinking women" earn 14% more than their teetotaling sisters?
"Perhaps women increase social capital apart from drinking in bars," the researchers said in an effort to explain the gender gap.
I will have much to consider as I sip my jar this evening....